An Excerpt from The Practical Guide for Healing Developmental Trauma

Posted by – August 03, 2022
Categories: Excerpt Health & Healing

From The Practical Guide for Healing Developmental Trauma: Using the NeuroAffective Relational Model to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resolve Complex Trauma by  Laurence Heller, Ph.D., Brad J. Kammer, LMFT

This book is written to support personal and collective change. 

It is an exciting time to be part of the trauma-informed movement. Over the past decade, awareness of trauma has moved beyond psychology and gone mainstream. Trauma has become a theme for blogs, articles, podcasts, songs, documentaries, movies, and TV shows, as well as a cause for celebrities, politicians, and social movements. A greater understanding of the widespread impact of trauma, especially complex trauma, is upending and revolutionizing mental health and other healthcare and social systems.

While it is daunting, and often heartbreaking, to recognize the impact on individuals, communities, and societies, we believe that a greater understanding of complex trauma—and tools to resolve it—can change our world.

The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) was introduced over a decade ago in the book Healing Developmental Trauma. This seminal work continues to remain popular as one of the first books specifically designed to address the emerging field of developmental trauma. Thanks to the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) study and the new diagnosis of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), the trauma-informed field is growing rapidly. As awareness of complex trauma grows, therapeutic models to address the impact of ACEs and C-PTSD are needed. 

NARM is one such model. For the past few years, we—NARM creator Dr. Laurence Heller and training director and senior faculty Brad Kammer—have been focused on building a professional training institute, the NARM Training Institute. Our mission is to evolve and promote trauma- responsive education, training, and treatment for healing complex trauma. This includes addressing the long-term impact of relational trauma that comes in the form of attachment, developmental, cultural, and intergenerational trauma. We have trained thousands of helping professionals internationally and provide ongoing education, training, consulting, and support to individuals and organizations around the world.

Our intention for this practical guide is to promote greater accessibility to the NARM therapeutic approach. We have done our best to take a comprehensive clinical model that requires years of professional training and present it in a way that supports ease of application. While mental health professionals may find it easier to apply, we have written it in a way that supports application for helping professionals working with the impact of complex trauma. We have written this for those of you who work as doctors, nurses, alternative medical professionals, substance abuse and addiction counselors, bodyworkers, coaches, religious and spiritual counselors, educators, first responders, police officers, social workers, probation and correction officers, policy makers, and anyone else whose work is impacted by complex trauma. Our heartfelt desire is that NARM will support the work you are all doing to heal our world.

Additionally, we wrote this as a practical guide for those of you who are seeking personal healing and growth. While NARM has its foundations in advanced psychological theory, this book provides a pathway to anyone interested in post-traumatic healing and growth. Transforming trauma patterns can lead to decreased suffering, increased hope and resiliency, and greater fulfillment in life. Whether you are a helping professional or an individual interested in healing, we hope that you will be able to use what you learn in this book for your professional and personal development. 

NARM is not just a clinical model for resolving complex trauma—it’s a blueprint for supporting relational health. By introducing a depth-oriented, somatic-based approach for shifting the psychobiological adaptations to complex trauma, we aim to provide readers with a greater understanding of what is driving human pain and suffering. This relational framework is based on a foundation of heartfulness. 

By introducing more individuals and organizations to NARM, we hope to contribute to a less pathologizing, more humane framework for supporting connection, health, and aliveness. While traditional psychological and neuroscientific understanding is consistent with the NARM approach, there is much work to do in bringing greater compassion to the application of psychological and neuroscientific methods. 

This excerpt has been shortened and adapted.